Trigger warning: discusses suicidal thoughts
Hi, I’m David and here is my story about depression and recovery for Time to Talk Day 2019.
I have had several bouts of depression over the years, it crept up on me without realising. The worst depression was in 2013, when my life came to a shuddering halt- almost like a train. My brain said to me ‘you need to stop‘. Unfortunately, I just didn’t listen to what my brain or body was telling me. That little voice told me so many times that I was not coping but stubbornly I carried on.
I didn’t look forward to work at the time and personal relationships were not good either. I ignored debts and neighbours were a nightmare as well, so I guess if you add all these up its little wonder something had to give. Day after day I felt sick, struggled to get out of bed and became irritable and generally not the person I wanted to be. I didn’t have the strength, or I was too proud to admit to anyone that there was a problem and not coping.
This is something that I and many others work hard to change. Not waiting until you hit the cliff edge and crisis point before seeking help.
Seeking help, admitting that I was ill and needed help was the first thing I had to do if I was to recover from what was the darkest period in my life. By this time, I didn’t want to go out, exercise or do anything. Work was of no interest I just hit a brick wall and saw no way out. I spent days just doing nothing and my mental health became worse and worse. I was a dad and husband but just couldn’t function in any of these roles.
To all of you out there, I want you to understand that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that you can recover. So, my message things will get better and I am evidence of this.
Once I had said to myself that I need help then that was the beginning. I admitted to my family that I had suicidal thoughts and went straight to my doctor. I broke down so many times that I never thought I would stop crying and be able to open up. I knew if I didn’t open up, I would never get better. I wanted to get better, I wanted to function again and be the best husband and dad that I could be.
It hurt like hell, but I realised that this was all part of the process and normal in a way. It was recommended that I go on medication and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) sessions. These sessions were so hard- I was digging deep into mind to try and get better, but this was making me worse. How could this be that I was talking about my experience but not getting better?
It wasn’t until I accepted that I had to find out the reasons for my depression and how I was going to deal with things in the future, that I began to recover. I decided to have family counselling and build in strategies and resilience for when I did feel down as I knew there would be times like these again, as depression often recurs.
I had a session a week of counselling and as part of my recovery process I bought a diary and wrote down how I felt each day, the positives, negatives and what I did or who I spoke to. Keeping a record like this it helps. I think that it is why I decided to put pen to paper as I saw it as part of my recovery process.
My advice is to write things down, talk about how you’re feeling and don’t bottle it up inside, however painful it is to open up. It is much better to talk a friend or someone who will listen. Having someone that would listen to how I was feeling and not judge me -because I did feel guilty. I felt guilty that I was unable to cope at the time but now know that it is OK to have these feelings but not hold on to them.
My final message that I want to get across is that we all have bad days but make sure you talk about them and if you are feeling depressed or suicidal, seek help and you will get well again.
This article was written by David Welham for Time to Talk Day 2019